Ethan Hines’ huge night, defense lifts Eagles over Midway

ELIZABETHTOWN — Ethan Hines turned in a huge night for East Bladen to knock off visiting Midway in the Four County Conference opener Friday, 42-0.

The win improved East Bladen to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference, while the Raiders fell to 3-2, 0-1.

While the Eagles’ defense was pitching a shutout over a Midway team that had come in averaging 39 points per game, Hines carried the East Bladen offense with 172 yards rushing on 16 carries, two rushing touchdowns, a 44-yard touchdown reception and an 81-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

“We did a lot of good things on defense,” East Bladen coach Robby Priest said. “That shutout was a long time coming (and) I don’t think they had 100 yards in offense.”

They didn’t. The Raiders tallied just 82 total yards and turned the ballover four times.

Things went south for Midway right out of the gate whenthe Raiders faked a punt on fourth down and a pass was intercepted by Adonis Avery, giving the Eagles possession near midfield. East Bladen went 53 yards in five plays, culminating with a 41-yard touchdown run by Hines. Pierce Melvin added the PAT for a 7-0 Eagles lead .

After a three-and-out by Midway, East Bladen appeared to be headed for pay dirt again when Hines raced 32 yards to the Raiders 25, but a fourth-down fumble gave the ball back to the visitors.

A Midway drive and punt gave the Eagles possession at their own 15, and East Bladen put together an 85-yard, 11-play march that ended in a 44-yard pass from Quinton Bedsole to Hines for a score. Melvin tacked on the extra point for a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

Midway moved into East Bladen territory but bogged down at the Eagles 34, where East Bladen used six plays to cover the 66 yards and scored on a 6-yard run by Hines. The drive was highlighted a 32-yard run by Eian Hines. Melvin booted the point after to give East Bladen a 21-0 lead 1:05 before halftime.

In the second half, Ethan Hines took the ball away from a Midway ball carrier at the East Bladen 19 and bolted 81 yards the other way for a touchdown 5:07 into the third quarter. Melvin’s PAT gave East Bladen a 28-0 advantage.

Things went from bad to worse for the Raiders. On their next play, Kyle Tatum picked off a Raiders pass and gave East Bladen possession at midfield. The Eagles manufactured a 10-play drive that finished with a 1-yard touchdown run by B.J. Robinson. Melvin split the uprights for a 35-0 East Bladen lead with less than a minute left in the third frame.

After another stop by the East Bladen defense, the Eagles marched 70 yards in just six plays — highlighted by a 31-yard run by James Higgins — that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by Messiah Leach. Melvin added the final point of the game with 6:35 left to play. The 42-point spread also put the mercy-rule’s continuous clock in motion.

Aside from Ethan Hines’ big night, Higgins finished with 55 yards rushing on just four carries; Xavier Wooten had 49 yards rushing on 13 carries; Robinson ran for 38 yards on 10 carries; and Eian Hines had 20 yards on three carries.

Through the air, Bedsole was 1-for-3 for 44 yards and an interception.

The Eagles will host 5-0, 1-0 Clinton on Friday at Lenon Fisher Stadium at 7 p.m.

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